“The New Normal” unapologetically breaks the mold for what is considered a traditional family comedy. Courtesy of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy, this new NBC sitcom features a young, successful gay couple seeking a surrogate mother to help them start their own family. They become mixed up in the surrogate mother’s life, however, forming an even more extended and non-traditional family.
The show focuses on partners Bryan and David. Bryan, played by Andrew Rannells from “Girls” and “The Book of Mormon,” is the more dramatic, shopping-addicted, diva-quoting, stereotypical partner while David — Justin Bartha from “The Hangover” — is the football-watching, dog-loving guy’s guy. Judging by the pilot alone, the two characters seem to occupy opposite ends of the spectrum of gay male stereotypes, but hopefully they will develop over the next few episodes into more complex — and interesting — personalities.
After Bryan decides that a baby would be the perfect accessory, the two decide they are ready for parenthood. It’s a bit implausible for Bryan and David to suddenly embark on a family life after just one simple conversation, but the show is filled with such spontaneous decisions.
Bryan and David find the perfect surrogate in Goldie (Georgia King). After putting her life on hold when she unexpectedly became a teenage mother, Goldie decides to seek a better life for her and her 8-year-old daughter. With this new outlook on life, she suddenly decides to become a surrogate mother for the couple. However, Goldie’s homophobic, racist grandmother, Jane (Ellen Barkin) will do anything to prevent this from happening. Her character is reminiscent of Sue, the “Glee” character played by Jane Lynch, rattling off the same offensive and biting jokes that always stray far from political correctness. The tension between Jane and Goldie is often hilarious, but it also reveals Jane’s mistrust and anxiety concerning the modern world.
The show explores issues faced specifically by gay couples, such as when Bryan and David have to decide who will be the biological father to their child. However, it also reflects on the questions all couples ask themselves when starting a family: Am I going to be a good parent? Am I really ready for this?
Premiering on Tuesday, Sept. 11, “The New Normal” is a fresh take on a rapidly changing society. The show pushes boundaries and tries to teach viewers that as long as two people love each other, they should be able to start a family. For a comedy with an overt message, it brings plenty of laughs and heartfelt moments that can be easily enjoyed by anyone.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 11 print edition. Alyssa Santiago is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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